Empire is gone, mayne.
Deadline reports that after five seasons of twists, turns and trysts, the Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson-led series will be bowing out after its upcoming sixth season.
“We are turning the final season into a large TV event, we are trying to go out guns a blazing,” Fox CEO Charlie Collier said of what will be Empire’s final season. “You allow fans to lean in and have the ending they deserve.”
And no, Fox has no plans whatsoever to involve embattled actor Jussie Smollett in any future episodes as the show rides off into the sunset. But thanks for asking.
“There’s an option to have Jussie in the series but we have no plans for that,” he said. Which sounds a lot like when you break up with your girlfriend, but aren’t quite ready to post memes about inner strength and moving on on Instagram.
Empire serves as the latest show on the network to get the axe. But more specifically, it’s the latest featuring a black lead.
This announcement of Empire’s demise comes on the heels of Fox pulling the plug on the Damon Wayans helmed-Lethal Weapon, Lil’ Rel Howery’s Rel, Russell Hornsby’s Proven Innocent, Lee Daniels’ Star and David Alan Grier’s The Cool Kids, denoting a troubling trend at the network.
But Collier insists that unlike other rival networks, diversity will remain a priority at Fox.
“The diversity of Fox is an issue that is so important and an ongoing effort for us to make sure we’re best in class. As I was looking at Fox and joining, what’s remarkable is that the history of this company and what it’s done in terms of diversity,” Collier said. “If you look across our slate in terms of scripted and unscripted and sports, we really are doing a good job but the job never stops. The effort continues, it never stops.”
As a general rule of thumb, I’m always leery of white men touting the virtues of diversity and inclusion since their track record almost always says otherwise, but I guess we’ll just have to wait and see this time around.